Feb 24, 2018
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NPD Group: millennials not spending in key fashion categories of athleisure, e-comm

Feb 24, 2018

According to NPD Group's recent research, millennials have slowed their purchasing so much that retail sales for athleisure and e-commerce, which previously showed double digit growth, shrunk to only 4% growth last year.


NPD Group released its Checkout E-Commerce Tracking report this week. The data found that apparel sales brought in a total of $215 billion 2017, a 2% decline from 2016.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, The NPD Group, Inc., said, "The rapid pace of change in Millennial consumption is one major change that points back to the importance of evolving consumer segmentation."

He added, "The future of the apparel business depends on manufacturers and retailers refocusing on the current needs of each critical consumer segment.”

Athleisure was one of the bright lights of otherwise dull apparel sales for 2017. While non-activewear sales declined, NPD's research found that athleisure dollar sales increased 2% to $48 billion, or 22 percent of total apparel industry sales. Women's athleisure drove the business with $21.9 billion sales achieving a 4 percent increase over 2016, a rise which, nonetheless, paled in comparison to progress in previous years. 

According to NPD's data, E-commerce retail grew only 4% compared to previous years which showed double digit growth. While the number of overall online transactions increased, the dollar value of online apparel purchases decreased 5% on average. Brick-and-mortar still accounted for three quarters of all apparel sales dollars.

Cohen said, "Categories like active apparel bottoms, undershirts, and swimwear – which indicate the consumer’s concentration on comfort, the staples, and niche products – are the few sources of consistent, long-term growth in today’s apparel market."

“Retail is changing, the consumer is changing, and every industry must understand where spending habits have moved, and adapt to the shifting market dynamics that are impacting their business,” he added. 

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